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Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link review


As grim as Adam Jensen's predicament is in The Missing Link, which sees him captured aboard a militaristic ship and stripped of his defining augmentations, it's easy to envision more inhospitable scenarios. An informed nemesis would solder shut every air vent, train his minions to peek around corners, and make sure that pocket secretaries stayed in their damn pockets. But where would our protagonists be if not for life-saving conveniences and bouts of enemy ineptitude?

That's why it shouldn't surprise you to learn that Adam quickly makes his escape and becomes involved in a new mini conspiracy, adequately shaped for what feels like a condensed run through Deus Ex: Human Revolution. As before, you'll start out weak and inclined to move stealthily, and eventually shape yourself biologically to accommodate new tactics. What Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link provides in its narrative isolation is a creeping tension and a sense of uncertainty.

Gallery: Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link (10/14/11) | 5 Photos

Without giving its exact location in the main campaign away, The Missing Link essentially occurs during a nap, now rendered retroactively exciting! And while it's curious that Adam never utters so much as a recap of his crazy adventure to anyone, it's clear that this story is interesting and dense enough to stand outside the main continuity. Hemmed into the main plot, it would have been seen as a stumble in pacing.

The cordoned-off nature of the DLC has a great effect on the game itself. Locked in a hostile, claustrophobic environment, you'll re-prioritize your augmentations in light of some serious opposition, and a lingering question of how many upgrade kits you'll be able to find. This worry also extends to your resources -- is this takedown worth it, knowing that you may not be able to find energy replenishments later? Sometimes the process even resembles puzzle solving, with a deliberately pointed camera making it harder to conspicuously hack a security door.

Going through Deus Ex's growth arc at super speed (well, it's still five to six hours long) makes your choices feel more important and immediate, even if it's done without the thrust of a huge campaign. And the payoff is worth it. This time, you're able to tackle the boss exactly how you want, even if by "tackle" you mean "stab to death with sword arms." The Missing Link does, however, still favor stealth and hacking above other disciplines, which occasionally sends shooters to lame "solutions" like finding a cache of passwords lying on the floor.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link doesn't feel essential, but it's substantial and clearly representative of the main game's strengths. Oh, and if you thought one of those strengths was being like Metal Gear Solid, well, here you have DLC that partially takes place on a rocking, rain-soaked ship.

The biggest drawback to endorsing this DLC, then, is that it's going to cost us $15 every time a video game character takes a nap.

This review is based on PC review code provided by Square Enix. Deus Ex: Human Revolution -- The Missing Link will be available on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 18 for 1200 MSP ($15).

Note: Joystiq does not provide star ratings for downloadable content reviews with the understanding that the quality of the core game's experience is unchanged from the retail release to DLC add-ons;
see: Deus Ex: Human Revolution review.

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